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Belief in God, Forgiveness and Honesty Are ‘Essentials’ to Being a Christian, Say Christians

According to a new poll, Christians say belief in God, forgiveness and honesty are the top “essentials” of what it means to be a Christian. The survey conducted by Pew Research asked participants about a series of 16 beliefs and behaviors, whether each is “essential,” “important but not essential” or “not important” to what their religion means to them, personally. Among Christians, believing in God tops the list, with (somehow only) 86 percent saying belief in God is “essential” to their Christian identity. Around seven out of 10 Christians (71 percent) say being grateful for what they have, forgiving those who have wronged them (69 percent) and always being honest (67 percent) are also essential to being Christian. Surprisingly, only 35 percent said that attending religious services is essential. Other interesting findings include:

–26 percent said dressing modestly is important;
–22 percent said working to protect the environment matters; and
–18 percent said resting on the Sabbath as essential to what being Christian.

The survey also asked similar questions to members of non-Christian faiths and religiously unaffiliated Americans, asking whether various behaviors are essential to “what being a moral person means to you.” Among the unaffiliated, honesty (58 percent) and gratitude (53 percent) were most commonly seen as essential.

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